CAREFULLY PLACED TREASURE

October 21, 2021

TREASURE -- that's not a word we use too often anymore.

You probably have a wallet or a purse - not a Treasure Chest.
When you think of any cash you have on hand, you probably think dollars, euros, pounds, francs, or some similar term -- you probably don't call it "treasure."
In fact, there are probably few things that you would describe with that word.

Today's verse says WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO

Today's devotional is NOT an appeal for funds. If you love what we're doing you are already likely a supporter of this ministry. If you're not, it's unlikely that reading an appeal here will change your mind. But I digress.

Today I want to discuss the connections between YOUR TREASURE and YOUR HEART.

When one begins to think about "TREASURE" the images that come to mind (at least MY mind) are tied to stories of kings and pirates, or movies of amazing discoveries. King David had a hoard of treasure. Gold, silver, precious stones and wood piled up in special places in his fortress. Blackbeard the Pirate had treasure, too. I'm not sure where he hid it; actually I don't think anybody knows. These are the kinds of things one thinks about.

I've said in the past that the best things in life AREN'T THINGS, and that's really where I want to focus us today.

Consider your relationship with your family. Or your closest and dearest friends. Are these relationships with people something you treasure? We talk about "investing" in building or repairing relationships because we hope to increase their value and worth.

In the best case scenario, these relationships ARE a treasure; something of great and enduring value. When these relationships are strong and positive, we naturally invest time, effort and even money into them; and we do so with great joy. Those "investments" give dividends of love, companionship and understanding. Things to be treasured indeed.

In the situations where family relationships are NOT good, investments of additional time (for communication) , effort (to consider and pray about how to maximize opportunities for healing and restoration) and money (for travel to re-build) are often required. Of course, making these "investments" doesn't guarantee the restoration of a damaged relationship. But without these "investments" the relationship will wither and eventually die.

Our verse says WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO, but the reverse is also true.
Investing your heart is a necessary element of building a relationship you can treasure. In this context it is clear to see that the answer is not just money. Real relationships are not built by saying to someone, "Here's a hundred dollars, let's be friends." What needs to be invested are OTHER things that you value highly, things you treasure.

Here's the key - you can choose to increase the value of a relationship by choosing to invest your time, your skills and your money into whatever will build that relationship.

If your relationship with God is not all that you'd hope or expect it to be, you have the capacity to change it. You'd do that with an investment of time. Reading His word, letting Him speak to you from the riches of the scriptures - that is an excellent time investment. The more you do it, the deeper your love and appreciation for His word will become. Investing TIME here will increase your appreciation of its value, and you'll see that value in your life.

You can also increase the value of your relationship with God (at least from the perspective of your appreciation of it) by DOING things He calls you to do in His word. Worship will change your heart in amazing ways. Acts of service that demonstrate the love of Christ to those who do not yet have a relationship with Him will touch three hearts. First, God will be blessed. Second, the person to whom you are showing His love will be impacted. And third, YOU will be touched. One action, three hearts. That's a great "return on investment" of 300%!!!

Will all this lead to using money to increase the value of your relationship with Christ. Of course it will. You'll find yourself buying some food to give to the homeless you meet. Of purchasing yarn to knit blankets for the local crisis pregnancy center. Or any of a hundred other things that your heart will lead you to do. But the MONEY is not the point. And the money will not impact the value of the relationship if your HEART is not involved. You can't just go to Jesus and say, "Here's a hundred dollars, let's be friends" - even if you do it every Sunday morning at church.

I'll wrap this up by making one final observation.

It has been my experience that making a deliberate investment in my relationship with God EVERY DAY is the single thing that has had the greatest impact on the value of EVERYTHING ELSE in my life.

If you take inventory of your life and see that you are lacking treasure - -the place to begin is your relationship with God. Be deliberate about investing your time, the gifts and talents that you possess, and being willing to add some dollars, shekels or rubles where your heart leads you. These are "investments" that will bring a great return of treasure. Maximized relationship with God. A powerful witness of His work in your life. Being able to touch the people who are closest to you and add value to them as people, even in times where life deals out difficulty and pain. Being able to find ever-increasing joy, healing and fulfillment in and with the people you love. THESE are the things we can truly treasure. Now THAT's a "prosperity gospel" I can embrace.

Live hard. Love well. Invest yourself wisely according to God's word …. REAP ETERNAL TREASURE

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